Guest blog by 2016 Summit Speaker Dr. Karyn Gordon, CEO of DK Leadership. Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography.
Recently I led an all day training session for a group of high performing Gen Y’s titled “Building A Leadership Presence”. In it, we focused on techniques for resolving workplace conflicts and giving /receiving feedback! After talking and reading their feedback, I learned that their favorite part of the day was learning the practical tools to give and receive feedback – a cornerstone for all successful leaders! Many of them said that they wished their managers were present so that they could also learn how to effectively give feedback to Gen Y. So here are the 7 tips I recommend for managers on how to give feedback that gets results with Gen Y.
(1) Understand that Gen Y’s Love Feedback If It’s Done in the Right Way
Many managers have told me that they think Gen Y’s don’t like feedback because when they’re given it, they seem defensive and unresponsive. But Gen Y’s actually love feedback when it’s given in the right way. After all they are used to receiving feedback from parents, teachers, coaches etc.! The key is that they are used to hearing a lot of praise. So the key to helping them “hear” the feedback is to focus first on what they did well (be authentic and genuine about this) and then to share with them any areas for growth. If you just go and blast them for what they are doing poorly they will perceive this as highly disrespectful and will be less motivated to improve!
(2) Give Feedback Frequent (And I Don’t Mean Your Annual Review)
Talk to any Gen Y and they will probably tell you that the traditional bi-annual performance review is not feedback, its history! Not only have months passed (which is an eternity to a young Gen Y) but when you’re giving feedback to someone long after something has happened – they don’t have a chance to respond in the moment, and an opportunity has been wasted for growth. In order to make these reviews helpful, Gen Y’s generally say they need feedback more like weekly or bi-weekly at the very least.
(3) Make it Informal
While Boomers and Gen X’s generally prefer formal feedback, Gen Y’s like informal feedback. When feedback is really structured and formal it may seem forced and less genuine. In contrast, sending them a quick email about what specifically you liked about their recent presentation will go a long way.
(4) Make it Short & To The Point
Remember they like things to happen quickly including how they are doing on specific projects, presentations etc! So feedback that is short and to the point grabs their attention more! Don’t make it any longer than it needs to be – they’ll get the point.
(5) Use Technology
Recent technology has given us amazing tools that have empowered many Gen Y’s (and other generations for that matter) to voice thoughts that they would have otherwise kept to themselves! A recent study demonstrated that younger Gen Y’s were likely to break up via text messaging because it was easier than to face the person. Gen Y’s are used to giving and receiving feedback via technology and although they still love feedback in person, technology is a simple tool to voice feedback quickly, so use it!
(6) Make it Specific & Explain Why
Many Gen Y’s have told me that when they do receive feedback it’s too vague. Comments like “Good job” or “You did well today” don’t tell them very much. Take the extra minute to explain specifically “why” what they did was good or not. When we give our reasons behind the feedback it carries much more power.
(7) Get Them To Ask For Feedback From their Peers
When I was leading the all-day training session for Gen Y’s, I taught specific communication tools, than asked a few of them to practice it front of the group. Instead of me giving the first feedback (which is more of a traditional teaching model), I suggested that the volunteers ask for feedback (if they genuinely wanted to learn) from their peers. Its one thing to be given feedback when you haven’t asked for it or from people who have higher authority (especially if there are a lot of growth areas), however it can be extremely powerful to hear feedback from our colleagues and peers whom we already trust.
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Dr. Karyn Gordon is the CEO of DK Leadership: Teaching Success Principles For Full Engagement In Work/Life; Relationship/Career Expert For Good Morning America (USA) & Cityline (Canada); Motivational Speaker & Corporate Trainer.
Go to www.dkleadership.org to receive her Monthly Newsletter featuring inspiring articles for families and organizations.
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